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Gardening Question of the Day

Salt from ice melt has turned the grass at the edge of my sidewalks brown. How can I get the green to return?

The sodium chloride used in deicer is toxic to plants and soil, so your grass probably was killed and the soil underneath it harmed as well. Your lawn most likely needs to be aerated in those areas. Do that, then reseed it. If you want to avoid future damage, consider using sand rather than salt on your sidewalks.

Last 7 Days

    Is garlic grown in the home garden prone to fungal disease?

    In cool weather, garlic can be attacked by a fungus called white rot. Not much can be done to control or prevent that problem except rotating your crops and cleaning up the area after harvesting. The spores can live in the soil for many years. The fungus affects the base of the leaves and roots. In warmer weather, you may come across basal rot, another fungus causing similar problems. Pink rot, clove rot, and neck rot are three other common fungi.

    How can I get rid of slugs in my garden?

    To keep slugs away from tender plants, surround the stems with eggshells, ashes, or grit.

    Should climbing roses be trimmed back the same as other roses?

    Yes, but avoid pruning them too much. Novice rose growers often make that mistake. Climbing varieties usually fare better with light pruning. Generally, you should trim them after they bloom, to make room for new blooms. Different varieties behave differently, though, so you should consult your local nursery to find out what is best for your variety. No rose will bloom well if its blossoms don't get enough sunshine and air because they are too crowded.

    I want to know whether garbanzo beans grow above the ground or are like peanuts and grow under the ground.

    The garbanzo bean, also know as the chickpea or Egyptian pea, is a member of the legume family and is related to beans and other peas. Like them, it grows above ground. The pods are about one inch long and contain one or two light-colored seeds.

    Can I use manure to fertilize my garden bulbs?

    No! Manure can encourage bulb rot and disease. Instead, use a sprinkling of bonemeal.

    What can I use to stake my sunflowers?

    Bamboo stakes are a good choice for any plant that has a strong, single stem and needs support for a short period of time.

    We’ve been having trouble with rabbits in our yard. We planted some arborvitae toward the back, and the rabbits have eaten away half of the trees. They also seem to like the lawn in the back as well. Will the foliage at the bottom of the arborvitae grow back? Should we even try to save the trees? Any suggestions for the lawn? How can we get rid of our piggy guests?

    Foxes and coyotes have kept the rabbits in check in our area, but deer are doing a number on our shrubs, including arborvitae. Arborvitae doesn’t like to refoliate, but can if needles aren’t eaten down to the nubs. As far as your lawn goes, rabbits are much more interested in lawn weeds than grass. A 3/4" wire-mesh fence will effectively keep bunnies out. It should be buried 8"–12" deep and needs to be only 30" high. Repellent plants include castor beans and onions. Commercial repellants may work, too. Let’s hope that it’s "hare today, gone tomorrow." --Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire

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